With just a handful of outdoor furniture pieces and a few accessories you can easily turn a basic garden courtyard into a cool, themed outdoor room. Interior designer Jacinta Preston shows us how

With just a handful of outdoor furniture pieces and a few accessories you can easily turn a basic garden courtyard into a cool, themed outdoor room. Interior designer Jacinta Preston shows us how

THE BACKYARD is the perfect area to create a themed “room”, an additional living space where you can relax, entertain, or watch a movie (yes, it’s possible!). Turning your garden into this extra living space isn’t as expensive or time consuming as you may think. In fact, it can be done in just a day and with a few key items.

1. Resort-style

Create a holiday at home feel that’s perfect for parties

HANGING RATTAN CHAIRS

add a lovely glamorous or recliner resort style feel to an otherwise classic garden. Place in pairs so you can sway and chat to a friend at the same time. For extra colour and comfort, add a couple of bright, summery cushions.

rattan hanging chair

Rattan hanging chair for home decorating

RAFFIA UMBRELLAS

(or any canopy umbrellas) will instantly amp up the garden-party vibe. They will create a shady spot to escape the sun and the raffia will give the garden a tropical touch.

Raffia umbrella with chairs and tables

Raffia umbrella resort style with chairs and tables [source: darumaeye.wordpress.com]

COOL STOOLS

A few colourful stools will add a fun, bright burst to the space. Tolix stools come in a range of summery shades (think yellow, pink, green, blue). Position by the lounge area they’ll come in handy for resting a magazine or cocktail. Jacinta’s tip Limit the number of furniture elements in the garden so that the “space” becomes the luxury.

Colorful cool stools are great fit into your spaces

Colorful cool stools are great fit into your spaces

2. Art park

Turn your garden into a galler y

GALLERY WALL

A high rendered wall is the obvious area to transform into your garden gallery as it’s the perfect plain backdrop for interesting and eye-catching works.

CANDLE ART

A simple candleholder can become a feature artwork when used in an interesting way. In this layout, nine pieces of the Geo Wall Art candleholder (see below) have been used to create a dramatic sculptural lighting element. It looks stunning when the sun sets. Perfect for evening soirees.

URBAN ART

Boris Bally “Pentatrays” and Alan James “Verbal Art” signs could also create a dynamic urban art installation. Jacinta’s tip Position seating in areas that can appreciate the gallery wall. We created a casual “corner” on the deck with two Adirondack folding chairs, and then used bench seating and two tables to form a generous outdoor dining area facing the wall.

3. Fantasy fairytale

Create a secret-garden inspired space the kids will love

SEATING OPTIONS

A dining area can be created in the garden zone with a couple of bench table sets. Add a few colourful Tolix stools for the kids. Two Adirondack chairs on the deck will instantly make a lovely lounge area to relax.

MOOD LIGHTING

When the sun sets add a pretty twinkling glow to the garden with solar-powered butterfly lights (Butterfly lights, $16.88, Big W) strewn en-masse through the vertical garden wall. Paper lanterns hanging randomly from the branches will also add to that whimsical, fairytale feel.

QUIRKY CHARACTER

The Kartell Gnome stool/table (red dot in courtyard plan) with its colourful design adds a playful touch. Jacinta’s tip Do just one “good thing” to make it beautiful. That might mean having 10 of that one gorgeous light, candle or pot plant. One item repeated en masse is a simple way to decorate.

4. moonlight cinema

Kick back and enjoy a movie in your own backyard

WEATHERPROOF TVs

– no kidding! – make it possible to create a permanent outdoor home theatre. Great for family movie nights or big sporting events.

COSY & COMFY Soft

seating is essential. Throw down a few beanbags, scatter some cushions and stretch out on a modular lounge chair with a comfy footstool. A few director’s chairs will really create that authentic movie-night atmosphere.

FIREPIT Gather

around the fire and toast marshmallows while watching your favourite film perfect! The glow of the fire will add a warm, cosy ambience to the proceedings, too.

Jacinta’s tip:

Illuminate the garden walkway cinema-style with solar-powered path lights leading cinemagoers to their seats. Try Patio By Jamie Durie Solar Bollard tall path lights, $29.97 for 6.

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